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IEEE Pulse ; 12(1): 2-6, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091099


In March 2020 -still the early days of the U.K.'s COVID-19 crisis-Rhys Thomas, a neurologist at Newcastle University, got a call at home from a concerned colleague. The colleague's cousin was hospitalized, critically ill with COVID-19, and had developed brainstem encephalitis, a severe inflammatory condition of the brain causing a suite of symptoms, from eye problems to balance problems and drowsiness. He wanted to know if Thomas knew anything about these conditions. At the time, the research coming out of Wuhan, China, only suggested a mild whiff of neurological symptoms-headache, dizziness, and the loss of taste and smell. Clearly the virus could affect the brain in some ways, but it wasn't, Thomas thought then, anything serious. But this report sounded much more concerning. Symptoms like this patient's would mean the virus was accessing more of the nervous system than scientists originally thought.

Brain Diseases/etiology , COVID-19/complications , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Brain Diseases/physiopathology , Brain Diseases/psychology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/psychology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/etiology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/physiopathology , Encephalitis/etiology , Encephalitis/physiopathology , Humans , Nervous System Diseases/etiology , Nervous System Diseases/physiopathology , Nervous System Diseases/psychology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Stroke/etiology , Stroke/physiopathology
Eur J Neurol ; 27(12): 2651-2657, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-799153


AIM: The aim of this paper is to describe the clinical features of COVID-19-related encephalopathy and their metabolic correlates using brain 2-desoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG)-positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) imaging. BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: A variety of neurological manifestations have been reported in association with COVID-19. COVID-19-related encephalopathy has seldom been reported and studied. METHODS: We report four cases of COVID-19-related encephalopathy. The diagnosis was made in patients with confirmed COVID-19 who presented with new-onset cognitive disturbances, central focal neurological signs, or seizures. All patients underwent cognitive screening, brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), lumbar puncture, and brain 2-desoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG)-positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) (FDG-PET/CT). RESULTS: The four patients were aged 60 years or older, and presented with various degrees of cognitive impairment, with predominant frontal lobe impairment. Two patients presented with cerebellar syndrome, one patient had myoclonus, one had psychiatric manifestations, and one had status epilepticus. The delay between first COVID-19 symptoms and onset of neurological symptoms was between 0 and 12 days. None of the patients had MRI features of encephalitis nor significant cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) abnormalities. SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR in the CSF was negative for all patients. All patients presented with a consistent brain FDG-PET/CT pattern of abnormalities, namely frontal hypometabolism and cerebellar hypermetabolism. All patients improved after immunotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Despite varied clinical presentations, all patients presented with a consistent FDG-PET pattern, which may reflect an immune mechanism.

Brain Diseases/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/complications , Aged , Brain Diseases/psychology , Brain Diseases/therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Cerebellar Diseases/diagnostic imaging , Cerebellar Diseases/etiology , Cognition Disorders/etiology , Cognition Disorders/psychology , Female , Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 , Frontal Lobe/diagnostic imaging , Humans , Immunotherapy , Magnetic Resonance Imaging , Male , Mental Disorders/etiology , Mental Disorders/psychology , Middle Aged , Myoclonus/diagnostic imaging , Myoclonus/etiology , Neuropsychological Tests , Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography , Radiopharmaceuticals , Status Epilepticus/etiology , Treatment Outcome
Psychosomatics ; 61(6): 585-596, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-726823


BACKGROUND: The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has emerged as one of the biggest health threats of our generation. A significant portion of patients are presenting with delirium and neuropsychiatric sequelae of the disease. Unique examination findings and responses to treatment have been identified. OBJECTIVE: In this article, we seek to provide pharmacologic and treatment recommendations specific to delirium in patients with COVID-19. METHODS: We performed a literature search reviewing the neuropsychiatric complications and treatments in prior coronavirus epidemics including Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses, as well as the emerging literature regarding COVID-19. We also convened a work group of consultation-liaison psychiatrists actively managing patients with COVID-19 in our hospital. Finally, we synthesized these findings to provide preliminary pharmacologic recommendations for treating delirium in these patients. RESULTS: Delirium is frequently found in patients who test positive for COVID-19, even in the absence of respiratory symptoms. There appears to be a higher rate of agitation, myoclonus, abulia, and alogia. No data are currently available on the treatment of delirium in patients with COVID-19. Extrapolating from general delirium treatment, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome/severe acute respiratory syndrome case reports, and our experience, preliminary recommendations for pharmacologic management have been assembled. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 is associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms. Low-potency neuroleptics and alpha-2 adrenergic agents may be especially useful in this setting. Further research into the pathophysiology of COVID-19 will be key in developing more targeted treatment guidelines.

Adrenergic alpha-2 Receptor Agonists/therapeutic use , Antipsychotic Agents/therapeutic use , Brain Diseases/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Delirium/drug therapy , Dopamine Agonists/therapeutic use , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Betacoronavirus , Brain Diseases/psychology , COVID-19 , Central Nervous System Depressants/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Delirium/physiopathology , Delirium/psychology , GABA Modulators/therapeutic use , Humans , Lorazepam/therapeutic use , Melatonin/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , SARS-CoV-2